Spring 2017 – First Impressions

This one’s for the dude bros who longed for the thrills and action.

Winter 2017 just ended with Kobayashi’s 13th episode that aired this week but damn, these new shows just pop up as if they cannot wait to stay for another week in the back burner. So Samui is going to write as fast as he can to blabber (or whine) in his first impressions.

In all fairness, this set of shows proved me wrong in a way that Spring 2017 opened a lot stronger than Winter’s. Another fact I am musing on is the abundance of sequels and the new shows which are also competent per se.

1. Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul 

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In a world of badly materialized game adaptations, Shingeki no Bahamut feels like a classic even if it is just a very competent show. The first season fell apart in it second half but it is safe to say that it was loved by the anime community. MAPPA also gave justice to this card game by giving the adaptation a solid fantasy world coupled with a colorful cast. Just do not ask me about the plot.

Now, the second season began where the first Bahamut ended and it presented a grim consequence of the humans beating the supernatural. The monsters are now the hunted, and were put on the atrocities that they once did with the people.  I say these moments were painfully effective until… uhh… Nina appeared. Sure, the sakugas were visually great thanks to MAPPA but I am still not fond of borrowing the idea from FLCL where strong emotions make the MC turn to something else. It was fun watching her jumping from one place to another though. Moreover,  Nina is not a badly written main lead!

Okay, now where’s Favaro?

2. Kado: The Right Answer

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Surprise! A hybrid CGI show is sitting atop on my first impressions. It was never a part of my watchlist but somehow my bad habit of switching shows the last minute always works. Remember Sakurada Reset? Yeah, I am putting that show aside for now. Kado: The Right Answer is two-thirds Samurai Flamenco and one third Ajin. First, it is a hybrid CGI show and has the thrills of Ajin since it began to shift its engines. On the other hand, we got two dudes who were living in a normal life but was caught up in whirlwind of insanity. I also loved the scientific take on that cube that does not sound stupid, albeit the scientist should stop acting like she’s a savage.

The only reason why I am not putting this in the first place is because of episode zero’s relatively inane nature. While it puts you in the mood for the plot shift later, I could not bring myself to love Shindo or any other leads there. I guess Kado works better when the adrenaline rushes in, no? Episode one is miles better, and convinced me that it might be that Toei work that I will like since Kyouso Giga.

3. Tsuki ga Kirei

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Or better call this My Youth is As Wrong As Expected Picks Up Flowers of Evil. I adore this show’s portrayal of awkwardness of middle high schoolers and their attempt to communicate with each other. I remember saying that this has to have some excellent writing to set itself apart from its peers. Tsuki ga Kirei succeeded in this aspect. The use of body language and the main character’s musings remind me of OreGairu, and Dazai’s novel references brings me back to Aku no Hana. Don’t worry  – Tsuki ga Kirei is neither of the two.

4. Sakura Quest

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Ah. PA Works Studio churning an anime literally about the workplace. This is their third offering in this vein and the first two (Hanasaku Iroha and Shirobako) are extremely pleasant albeit too vanilla series that can never go wrong with general audience. This time, Miyamori dyed her hair pink and was tasked to revive a dying town.

I know. People are comparing this to Shirobako but I honestly think Sakura Quest has a better premiere. You know why? It does not attempt to gloss out that Manoyama’s dying in all aspects and Koharu does not even like the job at all despite failing 31 interviews before that. Some poignant moments later, I am mostly won by Sakura Quest’s charms. As long as this series will churn thoughtful episodes like this, it can never go wrong.

PS: Koharu has some good facial reactions.

PPS: This is Amagi Brilliant Park sans the comedic chops.

5. Attack on Titan

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Fortunately, the first season was impressionable enough so my memory is still clear as regards to its events. We begin just right after Annie locked herself in a crystal cocoon and Attack on Titan did its best to bring the uneasiness it mastered four years ago. However, I am afraid the newcomers (if there are at this point) will not appreciate this good premiere but I appreciated the quick recap before we jump to the present.

Hmm? I already read the manga so I can say this episode was nicely adapted.

6. Re: Creators

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So this is a reverse isekai anime that feels refreshing on paper but is a bit dry on the execution. I guess I will buy the premise that anime characters were taken into real life and begins to bug our poor MC’s life. The first episode is strongly directed all thanks to the production staff but I wish it had some.. uhh… life. Yes, it took itself too seriously for my enjoyment.

7. High School Star Musical 2

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I would have probably put this show higher if not its shtick of cramming too much characters in the very first episode. My worry is Starmyu is bound to suffer sequel-itis now that it has given something that it might not be able to chew later on. Our lovable dorks successfully moved to the musical department, their Graduation Performance is up then bam! Explosion of new characters who got a minute or two of screen time! Well, for this episode, it remains fun as hell and ridiculously entertaining for these random music videos.

8. My Hero Academia 2

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Zzzz… My Hero Academia is not on its best when it deals with the mundane but this does not have to be this sleepy. A good quarter of the premiere was spent on recaps (Attack on Titan did a better job for reintroducing the series, I swear) and what followed is a build-up to a certain event that does not entice excitement either. Can we now begin with the action? I mean, the tournament arc (snort) is about to begin and I am excited to end this quickly.

9. Kabukibu!

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While Sakura Quest got me with its charming characters, I was put off by Kabukibu!’s dull leads – at least for now. There were ounces of things I expected to appear, well, the kabuki parts but the show has to introduce every character, isn’t it? And damn this show for starting in the most archetypal way of building a club.

Seriously, why did Studio DEEN moefied the character designs? I was already fine with the mature-looking LN illustrations! Anyway, one good thing about Kabukibu! is it does not feel like a Light Novel adaptation at all. Nowhere are your LN tropes that really turn me off so this show gets a pass.

10. GranBlue Fantasy

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The first two episodes are boilerplate since we have seen pretty much everything it does in other fantasy shows. Gran is MC prototype #2345, Lyria is your manic pixie turned damsel clone and Katalina-sama (hot!) is the hotter version of Erza. It is also a shame the premise reminds me of Comet Lucifer (UGH!) especially with its passable production values. Fortunately, GranBlue’s energetic presentation was more than enough to keep me awake in these two episodes. Just do not ask me what is original with the plot so far.

Granted that this is a big mobile game in Japan, I hope that it meets success despite the dreary disc sales of anime shows today.

PS: I love the opening song but is still a bit ambivalent towards the visuals.

11. How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend – flat 

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Just read the last word of this Saekano sequel’s title and you will know my reflection about this. Well, nostalgia romanticizes your experience no? It’s still sleepy as ever!

I am still waiting for Uchouten Kazoku 2 to air and I am guessing that show will end up as my torchbearer this season. Tch. Another sequel. Any violent reaction? Comments? None? Good. Let’s begin this season altogether.

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4 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – First Impressions

  1. I really enjoyed Kado as well. It surprised me because it hadn’t really been on my radar at all but managed to get my full attention by the end of episode 1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the new season.

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  2. I wonder where Sakura Quest is going. I’ve said in multiple articles I’ve seen writing about Sakura Quest, P.A. Works has a very hit or miss repertoire the last couple of years. Hanasaku Iroha was perhaps their best production and after that they were unable to reclaim the throne. I’ll also admit that the animation in Sakura Quest isn’t that of Hanasaku Iroha. It’s more flat, less colorful, like Shirobako. Which is a shame since P.A. Works shines in animation.

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    1. PA Works has its share of duds last year so I am not surprised Sakura Quest looks flat and less vivid. It’s just my hunch but this does not have the budget of Shirobako nor Hanasaku Iroha.

      That said, I am liking the show so far. Sakura Quest is has the most realistic (I daresay depressing) take on young adulthood out of the three. It’s just me since I am a sucker for those kinds of series.

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